Monday, May 20, 2019

When you recover from your disgrace, strengthen your brothers and sisters.

"They [Paul and Barnabas] strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14: 22).

Tuesday of the 5th week of Easter. Paul and Barnabas are busy traveling from city to city planting churches. Many of the new Christians were shocked when they meet brutal opposition in their efforts to evangelize. They consider it great anomaly. "This shouldn't happen. After all, we are preaching the Good News and everybody should be happy about it."

Have you ever been opposed or experienced obstacles in spreading the faith or doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy? The gruesome suffering and death of Jesus the Messiah all but wiped out the faith of His disciples. Jesus spent a lot of time after His Resurrection reassuring His disciples and strengthening their faith.

"JESUS said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day." (Acts 24: 44 - 46).

Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith will not fail as a result of the massive assault of Satan on Peter and Satan's temporary victory. Jesus then said to Peter and to us:" "When you recover, strengthen your brothers and sisters."

"Father, You restored Your people to eternal life by raising Christ Your Son from death. Make our faith strong and our hope sure. May we never doubt that you will fulfill the promises You have made. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son." (Collect, Tuesday of the 5th week of Easter).

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Sunday, May 19, 2019

I will send the Holy Spirit in My Name.

"The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you." (John 14: 26).

Monday of the 5th week of Easter. We are exactly three weeks to the end of the Easter Season and the Solemnity of Pentecost. In our Gospel of today, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit in His Name.
Today is the feast of St Bernadine of Siena (1380 - 1444), a Franciscan priest whose core ministry was witnessing to the power of the holy Name of Jesus. He worked in Italy and converted many through his faith in the power of the Name of Jesus.

Remember: "You are witnesses of these things." Jesus had said to His disciples:

#1 The Death of Jesus.
#2 Testimony of Scripture to the suffering and death of Jesus: (Luke 24: 44 - 46).
#3 The Resurrection of Jesus.
#4 The power of the Name of Jesus.

God gave St Bernadine of Siena a special love for the holy Name of Jesus. May God the Father give us a similar faith and love for this glorious Name.

The ancient Church sang this hymn when they met for Sunday Mass:
"Because of this, [humility of Jesus] God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth." (Philippians 2: 9 - 10).

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

As I have loved you, so you shall love one another.

 "I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another." (John 13: 34).

Sunday of the 5th week of Easter. Short Gospel but powerful message. Jesus gives us a new commandment. Actually, the only thing that is new here is: "As I have loved you, so you also should love one another." This is what makes it tough and very challenging. When Jesus taught in His sermons on the mountain: "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect," we thought this is a hyperbole. Now Jesus commands: "As I have loved you, so you also should love one another."

How has Jesus loved you and me? Let us search the Scriptures.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
+
"It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  
+
"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
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"It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7).

In 1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7, we see the attributes of love.
This is how Jesus loves you and me. Is this how you love yourself? Your neighbor?

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Friday, May 17, 2019

The truth of God's word has the power to make you free.

“If you keep and obey My Word, then you are My followers for sure. You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” (John 8: 31-32 NLV).

Saturday of the 4th week of Easter. We have two great Scriptures to delight and feed us from today's Liturgy. In the Gospel Acclamation, Jesus promises that if we truly stick to His word, that is His teaching in the Gospels and obey them, then we are guaranteed to have and enjoy true freedom and victory over sin, falsehood, deceit of riches, Hollywood fame, gambling and other types of disorders and addictions of modern life. Let us unpack the conditions for this great promise for this promise is absolutely true and worthy of trust.

#1 Make the word of God your home. Feed on it every day. Strive to understand its meaning for your life. Like the farmer, you need patience before you reap the fruits.

#2 You must obey the word. The Holy Spirit will help you to do this. The Holy Spirit works through the Sacraments especially the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The more you use these wonderful medicines of immortality, the more you see the fruits of Salvation in your life.

To tell you the truth, the promises below from the Gospel of today are for those who fulfill the conditions of John 8: 31-32 above.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.  And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it." (John 14: 12 - 14)

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Have trust in Me as you trust the Father.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me." (John 14: 1).

Friday of the 4th week of Easter. Just hours before Jesus was to proceed to Gethsemane to begin His passion, He appealed to His disciples to trust Him as they trust already His Father whom they know as Yahweh. The Father and Jesus are one as He had taught them. Again, He said what they had heard Him say often: "Do not be afraid."

We too struggle with all types of fears: family discord, health issues, financial problems, joblessness, etc. Fear is useless. What we need is trust. St Teresa of Avila gives us this verse about trusting God:

. "Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices."  (St Teresa of Avila)

"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, says the Lord;
No one can come to the Father except through me." (John 14: 6).

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The pledge of God to David and to us.

“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him, that my hand may be always with him, and that my arm may make him strong.” (Psalm 89: 21 - 22).

Thursday of the 4th week of Easter. As the solemnity of Pentecost draws near, we are tantalized by every word, every sound that points to the Holy Spirit. Our Scripture today comes from the Responsorial Psalm 89. David is one of my great heroes in the Bible. God anointed David copiously with the Holy Spirit thereby guaranteeing his success come what may.

What do you say of this pledge of God to David below?

“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him, and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior." (Psalm 89: 25 & 27).

My Father in Heaven, how good it is to know that You are my Father and that I am Your child!
Father, I believe in Your love for me.
Yes, I believe that You are a Father to me at every moment of my life, and that I am Your child!
I believe that You love me with an infinite love! Thank You Abba Father.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I am the Light of the world.

"I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness." (John 12: 46).

Wednesday of the 4th week of Easter. I came into the world as light. The opposite of light is darkness. The great truth of John 12: 46 is how to get this light? Belief! How to have eternal life here and now? Belief! Belief in what? Jesus!

Belief in Jesus the Only Begotten Son of God. Born of the Virgin Mary. Belief in Jesus who suffered and died in accordance with the Scriptures. Belief in Jesus who rose from the dead on the third day and appeared to His disciples. He ascended into Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to start the Church.

If you believe these propositions, you are already in the light. Abide in the light. Let your little light grow and grow and shine and shine.

"I will bear witness to You in the world O Lord.  I will spread the knowledge of Your name among my brothers and sisters.  (Cf Psalm 17: 50 ; 21:23).

"I am the light of the world, says the Lord; anyone who follows me will have the light of life." (John 8: 12).

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Monday, May 13, 2019

I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit.

"It was not you who chose me, says the Lord, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit,
fruit that will last, alleluia." (John 15: 16).

Tuesday in the 4th week of Easter. Today is the feast of St Matthias, Apostle. Here is what we know about Matthias:
"After the Ascension of our Lord, St Peter proposed that the disciples select an apostle to take the place of Judas. The choice was Matthias. He worked for the faith in Palastine, and later was stoned to death." [about 64 AD] (Roman Missal).

Why was Matthias chosen?
"It is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us,  beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.” (Acts 1: 21 - 22).

Matthias pre-qualified because he belonged to the band of the original disciples. He knew the ministry of John the Baptist. He was an eye witness to the Ascension of the Lord. So Matthias was fully qualified to bear witness to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. When the apostles prayed over Matthias and Joseph, the Holy Spirit indicated that His choice was Matthias.

Do you believe that you too are chosen, called and anointed to bear witness to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus by your daily walk with Jesus? Be open and discern your call. Trust Jesus to equip you fully for whatever mission He has for you.

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Holy Spirit, the Abundant life leads the Church to the fullness of truth.

"I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10).

Monday of the 4th week of Easter. We have a while to go in the Easter Season before the joyous festivity of Pentecost Sunday. We have started to hear the echos of the Holy Spirit in the Liturgical Readings.

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, not a solemnity but a simple feast celebrated worldwide because of the significance of the message of Fatima. What does Fatima mean to Christians and why does it matter? First, Fatima is in the domain of private revelation. Nobody is obligated to believe the message. But because the Church approves the apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Fatima in 1917, and very importantly because the Church gives it a place in its solemn liturgy, it makes sense to pay attention to it.

What is the message of Fatima?
"The message of Fatima includes a call to conversion of heart, repentance from sin and a dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary, shown especially by praying the Rosary." (Roman Missal, Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13).

"I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10). Abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10 is the Holy Spirit which amongst other blessings leads the Church to the fullness of truth.

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

I am the Good Shepherd.

"My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (John 10: 27).

4th Sunday of Easter is the Good Shepherd Sunday.
"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack." (Psalm 23: 1).

A dear friend told me of siblings who are not the sheep of Christ. They make themselves unknown to Jesus and refuse to listen and follow Him.
Do you have kids, siblings, friends, colleagues in the same situation? Do you feel any responsibility to help them? By virtue of your Baptism, the answer is unqualified Yes. (CCC 2472). These are the first steps:

#1 Intercessory prayers.
#2 Fasting, Almsgiving, Rosary.
#3 Masses.

Today is Mother's Day. One mother who understood that any foolish sheep outside the Shepherd's control is in mortal danger is St Monica. St Monica is the mother of the great St Augustine: Bishop, Doctor and Father of the Church. Through many prayers and tears, she was able to snatch her wayward son from the jaws of hell.
Augustine understood as few men have done that the so-called pleasures of this world are slippery and illusory. "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8: 36).

Abba Father, attune our minds to the voice of our Good Shepherd, Jesus the Son. Lead our steps to the path He has shown that we may enjoy the light of Your presence for ever! Amen.

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Friday, May 10, 2019

Now enters the Holy Spirit..

"It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail." (John 6: 63).

Saturday in the 3rd week of Easter. We reach a critical point in the Bread of life Discourse when Jesus declared the absolute necessity of chewing His flesh and drinking His blood. Many of His disciples were scandalized and left Jesus and went home to continue with their former business. Jesus however did not call them back to say that He was using a hyperbole or a metaphor. Instead He challenged the few remaining disciples to go home too if they wish.

Then enters the Holy Spirit:  "It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail." The Holy Spirit is the heart and life of the Church. In the 1st Reading today from (Acts 9: 31 - 42), we learn of the rapid growth of the Church everywhere as they enjoyed peace and the consolation of the Holy Spirit.

We are almost four weeks to the great Solemnity of Pentecost. It is time to start thinking of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is Lord and Giver of life, the same substance with the Father and the Son. Together with the Father and the Son, He is adored and glorified. It is He who will turn our lives upside down. Not in a bad sense. He is the cause of the Abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10.

"Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life; you have the message of eternal life. Alleluia!" (John 6: 63,68).

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Thursday, May 09, 2019

My flesh is real food.

"He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I live in him,says the Lord."  (John 6: 56).

Friday in the 3rd week of Easter. The Bread of life Discourse is a very important theme for the Gospel of St John, so today Jesus continues this most important topic.

Remain in Me and I remain in you, Jesus pleads. The only way you can bear fruit in My work is if you remain in Me and I in you. We have heard this enough to excite our interest. But Lord Jesus, how do we remain in You?

#1 You must eat My flesh and drink My blood.
#2 You must dwell in My word. Make it really your home.
#3 You must remain in sanctifying grace.

Lord, how do I remain always in sanctifying grace? Sounds impossible. Not at all. Use frequently the Sacrament of Reconciliation and examination of conscience. Receive Me often in the Eucharist.

Lord Jesus, grant that everything we do may be directed by the knowledge of Your truth. May these mysteries which You have revealed to us give us new purpose and bring us to a new life in You. Amen.

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Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Whoever believes has eternal life.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life." (John 6: 47).

Thursday of the 3rd week of Easter. Jesus continues the Bread of life Discourse. He makes an astonishing statement about belief. Everyone who is acquainted with the Bible knows that faith or belief is absolutely necessary for a relationship with God. But in (John 6: 47), we learn that eternal life begins here and now for everyone who believes.

What does Jesus mean when He says that "whoever believes has eternal life?" What is eternal life? Eternal life is Jesus Himself. "Eternal life is to know you the one true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17: 3). In another place, Jesus says: "I am the truth, the way and the life." (John 14: 6).

To have the quality of belief in Jesus that gives you the enjoyment of the peace and affluence of the kingdom of God here and now, you need:

#1 To believe everything that Jesus teaches. No cafeteria Christian. "He who picks up one end of the stick picks up the other end."

#2 To observe everything that Jesus teaches and commands.
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18 - 20).

"Christ died for all, that those who live may live no longer for themselves, but for him, who died for them and is risen, alleluia." (2 Corinthians 5: 15).

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Tuesday, May 07, 2019

The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.

"But the believers who had fled Jerusalem went everywhere preaching the Good News about Jesus!" (Acts 8: 4 TLB).

Wednesday in the 3rd week of Easter. The persecution that followed the martyrdom of Stephen scattered the first Christians everywhere. Just like the death of Jesus and Stephen, this persecution was no accident.

The circumstances of your call and answer to the ministry may not always be neat and planned. Hurricane, flood or fire may chase you into the land of your ministry. It could be the providential downsizing of your company or the death of a spouse.
Whatever the circumstances, you must be prepared to say Yes at the first call.

Philip, the Deacon fled Jerusalem and landed in Samaria. What did he do? He preached the Good News in his new home and converted a large number of people to Christ the Lord. (Cf Acts 8: 5 - 8).

Necessity is the mother of invention. The mother eagle shakes out the nest so that the complacent little eaglets will embrace their life's mission.

Be alert. Be vigilant. Jesus may come like a thief in the night.

"Alleluia, alleluia!
It is my Father’s will, says the Lord,
that whoever believes in the Son shall have eternal life,
and that I shall raise him up on the last day. Alleluia!" (John 6: 40).

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Monday, May 06, 2019

I am the Bread of life.

"Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." (John 6: 35).

Tuesday in the 3rd week of Easter. In the Bread of life Discourse, Jesus told those who were beginning to develop faith in Him that [I AM + BREAD OF LIFE]. I AM is of course the name that Yahweh revealed to Moses in the Burning Bush as His sacred name.

Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man will give us Himself as our Bread. Not just bread but Bread of life. What does the Church teach about the Bread of life?

"It [Eucharist] refers directly to the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ, the "medicine of immortality," without which we have no life within us......The Eucharist is our daily bread. The power belonging to this divine food makes it a bond of union. Its effect is then understood as unity, so that, gathered into his Body and made members of him, we may become what we receive.  This also is our daily bread." (CCC 2837)

In the Eucharist, we receive who we are, the Body of Christ. Now we must become what we receive, the Body of Christ.

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Sunday, May 05, 2019

What does belief in Jesus mean?

"Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” (John 6: 29).

Monday in the 3rd week of Easter. In our key Scripture above, the disciples asked Jesus what to do to accomplish the work of God. Jesus answered them: Only one thing is necessary. Believe in Jesus. Period.
We need to unpack what Belief in Jesus entails. Belief in Jesus means radical trust in Jesus. It means making Jesus and His Kingdom number one reality in your life.

Our second Reading today from Acts 6: 8 - 5 gives us a concrete example of a man that has a radical faith in Jesus and the result of such a faith.

"Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people." (Acts 6: 8).

When you truly believe in Jesus and the power of His name, you will be filled with grace and power and will be able to work miracles.

Stephen was surrounded by antagonists who wanted to punch holes in his claim that Jesus is the Lord and long expected Messiah "but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke." (Acts 6: 10).

The Spirit prompted what Stephen said in the debate.

Stephen's witness to Jesus showed clearly that Jesus Christ kept the promises He made to His disciples.
Do not be afraid to bear witness to Jesus.

"Alleluia, alleluia! ‘You believe, Thomas, because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe. Alleluia!" (John 20: 29).

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Saturday, May 04, 2019

Bearing witness to who we are is a duty.

"We are witnesses of these things, as is the holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5: 32).

Today is the 3rd Sunday of Easter. During the Holy Week 3 weeks ago, we stood in the crowd and watched the Passion of the Christ. On Easter Sunday, we were huddled in fear with other disciples when the Risen Jesus appeared and said to us: "I was dead but behold I am alive forever." (Cf Revelation 1: 18). We rejoiced and danced for joy.

Today, "the true and faithful Witness" is inviting us to bear witness to what we have seen and heard. Are you ready? What does it mean to bear witness or to be sent on a mission? What does the Church say?

"The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it. This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds. Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known." (CCC 2472).

To make a long story short, bearing witness to Jesus is a duty and a necessity from our privileges as Christians.

"It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you."  (John 15: 16).

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Friday, May 03, 2019

What you do when you are terrified.

“It is I. Do not be afraid.” (John 6: 20).

Saturday in the 2nd week of Easter. The disciples were terrified when they see Jesus walking towards their boat in the lake. Jesus said: "It is I. Do not be afraid.” And they became pacified. Have you ever been in a fearful situation when the word of God brought you peace and comfort?

Once upon a time, I spent the night in the countryside in a house that was fenced with a brick wall. In the middle of the night, I heard a loud noise that seemed like someone of over 300 pounds had jumped over the wall. I woke up with a cold sweat wondering how to defend myself. Then a Scripture that I know and repeat often came to my mind:
"Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain." (Psalm 127: 1).
I asked myself: "Who is my security?" Peace and calm returned to me and I went back to sleep.
Jesus promises to be with us always. (Matthew 28: 20). If we cultivate the sense of His presence, this will bring peace and security in fearful moments.

"O chosen people, proclaim the mighty works of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light, alleluia." (1 Peter 2: 9).

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Thursday, May 02, 2019

Feast of Saints Philip and James.

"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." (John 14: 6).

First Friday in the 2nd week of Easter. Today is the feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles.

What does Jesus mean when He says that He is the Way? We say that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points. Jesus is the direct way to the Father. When Jesus says: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things you need will come to you." (Cf Matthew 6: 33). He gives us the most direct way to the good life. Jesus Christ is the Good News.

Jesus Christ is not only the Way, He is also the Truth and the Life. What is the meaning of life, you may wonder from time to time. The answer is in the Truth that is Jesus. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End of all things. In His light, we see all light. Jesus Christ is the Top Prize.

"I have come that you may have life and have it to the full." (John 10: 10). Jesus is that life which we yearn for. This is why He gave us His flesh and blood for our food. He took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to you and said: "Take and eat. This is my body." He did the same with the cup of wine.

Just as Saints Philip and James heard Jesus say "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" and believed Him and followed Him so should we respond to His message.

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Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday, May 3.

First Friday, May 03, 2019.

Jesus promised 12 special graces and favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 5th month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #5.

#5.  "I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings."

We celebrated the feast of St Joseph the Worker on May 1st. St Joseph is the patron saint of many workers who intercede for them for success and prosperity in all their understandings.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus promises to pour abundant blessings on all the undertakings of those who honor Him especially on the First Friday of every month.

Lord, prosper the work of our hands.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

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Wednesday, May 01, 2019

We must obey God rather than men.

“We gave you strict orders [did we not?] to stop teaching in that name." (Acts 5: 28).

Thursday in the 2nd week of Easter. The Memorial of St Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (297 - 373).St Athanasius defended the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ from the Arian heresy. The heretics, a group not unlike the modern Jehovah Witnesses in their beliefs and arrogance. The Arians at this time had immense political power and they used it effectively to advance their pernicious doctrine. Athanasius the metropolitan Archbishop of Alexandria in Egypt suffered many exiles from Arian administrators but did not compromise the integrity of the Catholic Faith which is once and for all delivered to the saints.

"But Peter and the apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5: 29). The Apostle Peter and his brother Apostles laid down an important principle here. It is better to suffer than to deny the faith. This is a principle that our saint of today followed all his life.

"We are witnesses of these things, as is the holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5: 32).

We believe in the infallible word of God. We believe in the Teaching of the Catholic Church. We believe in the concrete experiences God has given us to support our faith. We obey God and therefore we too are witnesses of these things as is the Holy Spirit that God has given us.

"In the midst of the Church [Athanasius] opened his mouth,
and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding and clothed him in a robe of glory, alleluia. (Cf Sirach 15: 5)

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Feast of St Joseph the Worker.

"Is he not the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13: 55).

Wednesday in the 2nd week of Easter. Today is May Day, the feast of St Joseph the Worker. The Church teaches that God laid down for human beings the law of work. Jesus Christ, a man in all things but sin was not exempt from the law of work. He followed the profession of His foster father Joseph the Carpenter. After Joseph died, Jesus became a self employed business man running the family carpentry shop until he was 30 years when he left Nazareth to start His ministry.

The feast of St Joseph the Worker "reminds us that honest work, no matter how seemingly menial, can be sanctified. Through work we can sanctify ourselves and others, making each of us participants in the work of redemption." (Roman Missal).

May the Lord prosper the work of our hands.

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Monday, April 29, 2019

The Apostles bore powerful witness to the Resurrection of Jesus.

"With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all." (Acts 4: 33).

Tuesday in the 2nd week of Easter. The first Reading from Acts 4: 32 - 37 answers our curiosity: How did those very first Christians live? They had no doubt great community life. But our key Scripture for today deals with one crucial aspect: The Apostles testified with powerful sermons to the Resurrection of Jesus. The Resurrection of the Lord became their magnificent obsession. This is a very important and interesting point given their initial timidity after the Crucifixion. What made the difference? Let us hear from Jesus.

"You must be born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified]." (John 3: 7 AMP).

In plain language it means: "To understand and believe in the Resurrection of Jesus and bear witness to it by your life day after the day, you must receive and activate the gift of the Holy Spirit."

All things are created twice. The first creation is earthy and earthly. Like Adam. The second creation is heavenly like Jesus.

Do you embrace your mission of bearing witness to the Resurrection of the Lord by sharing your gifts of time, talent and treasure?

"Alleluia, alleluia!
You, O Christ, are the faithful witness, the First-born from the dead, you have loved us and have washed away our sins with your blood. Alleluia!" (Revelations 1: 5).

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Sunday, April 28, 2019

How to set the world on fire.

"As they prayed... they were all filled with the holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness." (Acts 4: 31).

Peter and John reported all that happened during their imprisonment and trial to their community. The community thanked God and prayed for courage to continue the work of evangelization. God answered their prayers.

Today is the Memorial of St Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (1347 - 1380). God set St Catherine on fire with divine love and boldness in the service of the Church.

"Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire." St Catherine of Siena said and lived this maxim. One of the poignant lessons of our key Scripture from Acts 4: 31 is the power of prayer. God answers prayers.

"Again, [amen,] I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father." (Matthew 18: 19).

How often do you pray and agree with someone over a need or intention?

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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Solemnity of Divine Mercy.

"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." (Lamentations 3: 22 - 23).

Today is the 2nd Sunday of Easter. We celebrate today the Solemnity of Divine Mercy. What is Divine Mercy? According to St Maria Faustina, the Apostle of Mercy, Divine Mercy is simply God's loving mercy for all men and women especially for sinners. This is a marvelous good news for all of us especially those in most need of mercy here and now. Imagine souls that are departing this world at this moment. What better good news could lift them up than to hear that God is rich in mercy and is waiting for them to turn to Him to blot out all their sins and receive them into Paradise.

The Divine Mercy devotions consist of Divine Mercy Novena (9 days of praying the Divine Mercy Rosary) and the Divine Mercy Rosary which can be prayed every day on its own. It takes about 10 minutes. Very powerful!
The Divine Mercy devotion is best remembered by its acronym ABC of Mercy:
Ask for mercy.
Be merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

Jesus I trust in You.

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Friday, April 26, 2019

The Sheep are ransomed by the Lamb.

"Christians, to the Paschal Victim
offer sacrifice and praise.
The sheep are ransomed by the Lamb; and Christ, the undefiled, hath sinners to his Father reconciled." (The Easter Sequence).

Saturday in the Octave of Easter. The Lord Jesus in the Gospel (Mark 16: 9 - 15), rebuked the Apostles for not believing the credible witnesses who informed them of His Resurrection. Our reflection today however is from the Easter Sequence.

We offer the Paschal Victim [Jesus] our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving through our prayers but especially through immersion in His word and the Eucharist. At Calvary, we the Sheep are ransomed by the Lamb[Jesus].

What does Ransom mean? It means Redemption. Because of our sins, we owe a debt to God that no man or all men can redeem. Jesus paid the Ransom through His death. This is the meaning of Redemption. Now we are reconciled to God and therefore qualified for the fruits of Salvation.

At Calvary, we are redeemed but now wait for the Promise of the Father in Pentecost to enjoy the fruits of Salvation. What is Salvation?

"The Lord led his people to freedom and they shouted with joy and gladness. Alleluia!" This is Salvation.
Salvation is freedom from slavery to sin, fear, worry, doubt.
Redemption plus Salvation equals Spirit-filled Christian. This is the Good News we must share.
Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and our Savior.

As we march towards the Promise of the Father in Pentecost, let us sing:
"Alleluia, alleluia!
This day was made by the Lord:
we rejoice and are glad.
Alleluia!" (Psalm 117: 24).

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

What do you know about the Name of Jesus?

“By what power or by what name have you done this?” (Acts 4: 7).

Friday in the Octave of Easter. The healing of the crippled man landed Peter and John in trouble with the authorities. It also gave them the opportunity to bear witness to the power of the Name of Jesus.

Remember: "You are witnesses of these things." Jesus had said to His disciples:

#1 The Death of Jesus.
#2 Testimony of Scripture to the suffering and death of Jesus: (Luke 24: 44 - 46).
#3 The Resurrection of Jesus.
#4 The power of the Name of Jesus.

Today is the opportunity to bear witness explicitly to the awesome Name of Jesus. The Name of Jesus contains the Person, Presence and Power of Jesus.

"Then Peter, filled with the holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders:.... then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed." (Acts 4: 8, 10).

The Name of Jesus is a sacramental. When evoked with faith disposes you to feel the Presence of Jesus. The Name of Jesus protects us from evil spirits who are terrified by that mighty Name. The Name of Jesus is the shortest and very effective prayer. It is one of my favorite prayers. "Jesus, Jesus!"

"Alleluia, alleluia!
This day was made by the Lord:
we rejoice and are glad.
Alleluia!" (Psalm 117: 24).

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

You are witnesses of these things.

"And he [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day  and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24: 26 - 28).

Thursday in the Octave of Easter. The Risen Jesus appears in the midst of His disciples with doors locked and bolted. They were understandably terrified. But Jesus calmed them down and convinced them that it was He. And Jesus said to them and us: "You are witnesses of these things."

What things are we to be witnesses of? Consider the following:

#1 The Death of Jesus.
#2 Testimony of Scripture to the suffering and death of Jesus: (Luke 24: 44 - 46).
#3 The Resurrection of Jesus.
#4 The power of the Name of Jesus.

This is the core of the apostolic catechesis. It has not changed. We bear witness to these truths by the witness of our daily lives.

"O chosen people, proclaim the mighty works of him,
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light, alleluia." (1 Peter 2: 9).

Easter is a 50 day celebration and so we continue to sing:
"Alleluia, alleluia!
This day was made by the Lord:
we rejoice and are glad.
Alleluia!" (Psalm 117: 24).

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Nobody can give that which he has not.

“I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you." (Acts 3: 6).

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter 2019. Peter and John on their way into the Temple healed a lame man in the name of Jesus. "In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk." (Acts 3: 6).

The Latins say: "Nemo dat quod non habet." Translated: "Nobody can give that which he has not." Makes sense? Absolutely!

I have often been empowered by the above Scripture. (Acts 3: 6).
God has blessed us with many gifts and talents but not everyone with  silver and gold. "Why don't I have lots of silver and gold pieces to fill my purse?" This was the dilemma of Peter in this narrative. This is my dilemma too. As a consequence, I did not know how to share my many blessings. One day, light and understanding came from above. "Your situation is not an accident but divine providence." Therefore,
#1 Accept who you are.
#2 Accept all that has happened.
#3 Accept everything that is happening.
#4 Cooperate with everything except what is sinful.

Do you struggle to understand why you do not have what you consider crucial to abundant life?
The truth below can set you free:

#1 "Your Father in heaven knows you need all these things." (Matthew 6: 32). God knows exactly what you need and when you need it.
#2 "Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need!" (Psalm 23: 1 TLB).

Can't you see how the Lord in His kindness and mercy provides you everything you need? Share your blessings. Do not bemoan what you don't have.

"Alleluia, alleluia!
This day was made by the Lord:
we rejoice and are glad.
Alleluia!" (Psalm 117: 24).

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Monday, April 22, 2019

I have seen the Lord.

"Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her." (John 20: 18).

Tuesday in the Octave of Easter. Mary Magdalene encountered the risen Jesus at the graveyard and did not at first recognize the Lord. Sent by Jesus to His brothers, Mary Magdalene became the first bearer, missionary of the Good News.

"I have seen the Lord", announced Mary. Have you encountered the Lord this Lent or Easter Season? I encountered the Lord on Holy Thursday when I walked into the Church for the Holy Thursday Liturgy. Deacon Ralph rose from his seat in the Sanctuary and said to me: "The Lord will be washing your dirty feet tonight." I beamed with smile and said Yes. I knew instantly that I was experiencing a wonderful encounter with the loving and merciful Jesus. A couple of years ago, while preparing for the Holy Thursday service, I had reacted to Peter's hesitation that the Lord will wash his feet by saying: "Lord, I will allow you to wash my feet." I walked into the Church (a different one) and the sacristan came to me and asked me to be one of the those whose feet will be washed. "Certainly not." I answered. Ten minutes later the sacristan came back to me and said: "Are you sure you will not want your feet to be washed?" I said firmly "No." Later I was convicted of my behavior. By the mercy of Divine Providence, I remembered the incident on the morning of Holy Thursday last week. So I was ready for the Lord. Deacon Ralph must have wondered the reason for the smile and joy of the Lord washing my feet.

"Do you not yet understand, and do you not remember?" (Matthew 16: 9).

Yes Lord, I remember. I understand.

"If you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God; mind the things that are above, alleluia." (Colossians 3: 1 - 2).

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Crucifixion of Jesus was no accident of history.

"This man, [Jesus] delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.  But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it." (Acts 2: 23 - 24).

Today is Monday in the Octave of Easter. Easter is the greatest feast in the Church liturgical calendar. Each of the first 8 days after Easter Sunday is a solemnity (high feast). 50 days from Easter to the Feast of Pentecost on June 9th are all feast days of Easter. If during the 40 days of Lent, you fasted, abstained or disciplined yourself in any way, then you can appreciate the 50 days of Easter feast. If you did nothing during Lent, then you acted as an unbeliever, and may not enjoy the change of Season. (Cf Psalm 1).

Our key Scripture today (Acts 2: 23 - 24) teaches us a very important truth. This is a truth that can fill you with knowledge and wisdom that you can use every day. I will use another strategic Scripture to convey the lesson:

"And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.  For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers." (Romans 8: 28 - 29 AMP).

Brothers and sisters, remember: Easter is not a one day celebration. It is a Season. That is why it is also called Eastertide. Enjoy the holy joyful Season.

"Alleluia, alleluia!
This day was made by the Lord:
we rejoice and are glad.
Alleluia!" (Psalm Psalm 117: 24).

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

I have risen. And now I am with you always.

"I have risen, and I am with you still, alleluia.
You have laid your hand upon me, alleluia." (Psalm 138: 18, 5 - 6).

Today is Easter Sunday! The Day of Easter joy. "This is the morning on which the Lord appeared to men who had begun to lose hope and opened their eyes to what the Scriptures foretold: that first He must die, and then He would rise and ascend into His Father's glorious presence."

On this day, Jesus conquered death and unlocked for us the path to everlasting life.

Happy Easter to you all.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

This is our Passover Feast.

“God raised up Jesus, freeing him from the pains of death” (Acts 2:24).

My brothers and sisters, we celebrate tonight the Great Easter Vigil. The Church allover the world will be trembling with excitement and joy when the great Easter Proclamation (Exsultet) rings out. I want to offer for our reflection some key truths from the Easter Proclamation:

#1 "This is our Passover feast, when Christ, the true lamb is slain, whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers."

#2 "What good would life have been to us if Christ had not come as our Redeemer?"

#3 "The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy; it casts out hatred, brings us peace and humbles earthly pride."

#4 "Therefore heavenly Father, in the joy of this night, receive our evening sacrifice of praise, your Church's offering."

#5 "May the Morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen."

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Good Friday of the Lord's Passion.

"But he was pierced for our sins,
crushed for our iniquity.
He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed." (Isaiah 52: 5).

We celebrate today GOOD FRIDAY of the Lord's Passion.

We adore You O Christ and worship You. Because of Your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

One Savior: Jesus.
One means of salvation: Cross.
No Cross. No Salvation.

Did you experience greater clarity and understanding about the Cross? Or what it means in your life during Lent 2019?

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Christ was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.
But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all names.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (Philippians 2: 8 - 9).

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Holy Thursday, Memorial of the Institution of the Eucharist.

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes." (1 Corinthians 11: 25 - 26).

Until He comes.....

The Church celebrates today the memorial of the institution of the Eucharist, the Mass of the Lord's Supper. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "By celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles in the course of the Passover meal, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning. Jesus' passing over to his father by his death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of the kingdom." (CCC 1340).

"Grant, almighty God,
that, just as we are renewed
by the Supper of your Son in this present age,so we may enjoy his banquet for all eternity.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever." (Prayer after Communion).

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
I give you a new commandment:
love one another just as I have loved you, says the Lord.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (John 13: 34).

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Accept your cross.

"At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend of those in heaven and on the earth and under the earth,
for the Lord became obedient to death, death on a cross: therefore Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Cf. Philippians 2: 10, 8, 11).

It is the will of Abba Father that Jesus the Christ embrace the Cross for our salvation. The human race has One and Only One Savior: Jesus the Christ. There is Only One Means of salvation: The Cross. Make no mistake about it: The Cross is the Only Means of defeating and crushing evil in the world.

The power of the Cross is incalculable. Are you prepared to accept God's will in your life? This may be your greatest cross.
Accept your cross and obtain your crown. Accept your thorns and receive your triumphs.
Accept God’s plan for your life and be happy and enjoy the Christian revolution.

After Lent 2019, our greatest triumph should be:
"I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame." (Isaiah 50: 7). And to say:
"See, the Lord God is my help; who will declare me guilty?" (Isaiah 50: 9). Be firmly resolved to follow Jesus on the path of holiness.

Let us sprint with great confidence to the mercy and goodness of the Lord as we end Lent 2019.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

The Week of betrayal, denials and treachery.

"Do not leave me to the will of my foes, O Lord, for false witnesses rise up against me and they breathe out violence." (Cf Psalm 27: 12).

Tuesday in Holy Week 2019. Theme of betrayal, denials and treachery. Jesus is not a stranger to this experience. This became the experience of Peter and Paul and all the saints. It is the constant experience of the Church. If you are diligently following Christ, you will experience betrayal, denials and treachery.

"God did not spare his own Son,
but handed him over for us all." (Romans 8: 32).

God did not spare His own Son Jesus so that we shall have eternal life. God did not spare Peter, Paul, Popes, Mother St Teresa, Mother Angelica, Martin Luther King, etc.

We have one Savior: Jesus.
One means of salvation: Cross.

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Hail to you, our King!
Obedient to the Father, you were led to your crucifixion as a meek lamb is led to the slaughter.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (Gospel Acclamation).

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Give to the Poor what belongs to the Poor.

"You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me. [Jesus] ”  (John 12: 8).

We are now in Monday in Holy Week 2019. The Gospel is from the 12th chapter of St John where Judas, the keeper of the purse for the group of apostles opined:
 “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” (John 12: 5). Judas was scandalized that Mary wasted an expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus.

Not everyone that cries "the poor, the poor!" cares for the poor. There is a true love of the poor and a fake love of the poor. Judas is a type of a Christian who talks of the poor and does little or nothing for the poor.

Give to Caesar what is Cesar's.
Give to the Poor what belongs to the Poor.
Give to God what belongs to God.

"You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12: 8).

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Hail to you, our King! You alone have had compassion on our sins.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (Gospel Acclamation).

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat.

“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat,  but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22: 31 - 32).

Today is Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion. We remember Christ's Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem to accomplish His mission through the Cross.

Just as Satan was given permission to sift Job like wheat, Satan has again been given permission to sift you and me like wheat. Our most merciful Savior and Teacher has prayed for us and has given us a cheat sheet to pass this test.

“Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.” Jesus said. (Luke 22: 46).

Your cheat sheet from the Master is: STOP SLEEPING AND PRAY.
Jesus taught that Prayer is a vital necessity. While Jesus never taught that we WORK Always,  Jesus asks us to pray always. A Christian who does not pray will not experience miracles. His faith is dying. He cannot overcome temptations. He has a wide open door for Satan to tempt him in all sorts of ways.

Through the power of Prayer, Jesus is strengthened in His inner self and ready to embrace the will of His Father during His temptations.
"Father, if this chalice cannot pass without my drinking it, your will be done." (Matthew 26: 42).

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory! Christ was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all names.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (Philippians 2: 8 - 9).

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Friday, April 12, 2019

We come to faith by hearing the word of God and seeing His marvelous works.

"Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done [the raising of Lazarus] began to believe in him." (John 11: 45).

On Saturday in the 5th week of Lent 2019, we see that faith comes also from seeing or witnessing the wonderful works of God. Yesterday, we read:
"Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.”  And many there began to believe in him." (Cf John 10: 40 - 42).

So, how do we come to faith?
#1 By hearing and believing the testimony of credible witnesses. As above.
#2 By seeing or witnessing the wonderful works of God. Some people have come to faith by surviving terrible auto accident, health crisis, financial meltdown, etc. They become convinced that nothing short of divine intervention saved them. If you are open to the supernatural, you must have examples from your life or others of divine interventions.

We have about one week to the end of Lent 2019. Everyone who believes in Jesus has eternal life. Eternal life starts here and now. Do you experience the deep peace of the Kingdom? Are you an overcomer of the problems of life through your faith?

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son:
everyone who believes in him has eternal life.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (John 3: 16).

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Is your faith growing?

"He [Jesus] went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.  Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.”  And many there began to believe in him." (John 10: 40 - 42).

On Friday in the 5th week of Lent 2019, our word today is: "And many there began to believe in him." (John 10: 42).
Is your faith growing? If you have been feeding on the word of God in this Lenten series, then the unqualified answer is Yes! For anything to grow, there is need of constant nurturing. That is why Jesus said that you cannot know the truth and the truth cannot make you free unless you persevere day after day in His word. Thank You Jesus for Your precious words this Lent. Thank You for strengthening our faith.

"Jesus bore our sins in his own body on the cross,so that dead to sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds we have been healed." (1 Peter 2: 24).

"Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Repent, says the Lord,
for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!" (Matthew 4: 17).

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Abba Father keeps all His promises.

"Here is my covenant with you: you are to become the father of a multitude of nations." (Genesis 17: 4).

On Thursday in the 5th week of Lent 2019, we choose a word of God that can set us free from anxiety and doubt. "The Lord remembers his covenant forever." God remembers all His promises to Abraham and fulfills every one of them. He remembers His promises to the Blessed Virgin Mary and fulfills every promise. Joshua reminded the people that God has not defaulted in a single promise He made to Israel. The Lord remembers all His promises to David and fulfills all.

Our God is a Father who keeps His promises. This truth which I know from Scripture and believe, sets me free from anxiety and doubt. Thank You Father, O Faithful God!

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life; you have the message of eternal life.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (John 6: 63, 68).

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Tuesday, April 09, 2019

You can enjoy unbelievable freedom by persevering in My word.

“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 31 - 32).

On Wednesday in the 5th week of Lent 2019, we hear in the Scripture above a message we can use at once. The Jewish crowd who heard Jesus wanted to know what He meant by being "set free." Set free from illness, poverty, prison, joblessness? We are happy they asked because Jesus used their question to instruct us on the true nature of freedom and the true freedom that sets us free from all types of harmful dependencies and slavery. Listen to Jesus:

"Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin." (John 8: 34). And therefore not free.
Jesus is saying that directly or indirectly sin is at the root of all the evil that torments man. Jesus came to deal with sin decisively through the Cross.

If the Son of God sets you free,  then you will truly be free. (Cf. John 8: 36).
How does Jesus set you free?
#1 Feed on His word every day.
#2 Feed on His Body.
#3 Completely trust in Jesus.

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Man does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (Matthew 4: 4).

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Monday, April 08, 2019

Moses interceded for the people and the Lord had mercy on them.

"We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him." (Numbers 21: 7 - 8).

When the people got frosty in their attitude on the way to the Promised Land, they took it out on God and Moses. The punishment was swift and deadly. Quickly repenting of their sin, they begged Moses to intercede for them. Moses interceded for them. Those of them who repented and became obedient were healed.

Prayer is a key component of most religious traditions. We have seen that throughout Sacred Scripture, Intercessory prayers are conditio sine qua non of a living faith. The prophets and priests owe their continued relevance to this necessity. Jesus Christ is our able High Priest who intercedes for us day and night at the Father's right hand. The Blessed Virgin Mary owes her exalted position in Heaven as Queen and Mother to her Intercessory prowess. A giant Prayer Warrior. Saints in Heaven pray for us all the time. Our Guardian Angels and the Archangels protect us and intercede for us.

Where is the Prayer of Intercession in your spirituality? Who do you intercede for and how much time do you devote to interceding for your loved ones who have passed into eternity? Remember the Four Last Things: Death and Judgment, Heaven and Hell. Many souls destined for Heaven will of necessity need purification. The Church calls this stage and process Purgatory.

"When I am lifted up from the earth,I will draw all to myself, says the Lord." (John 12: 32).

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower;whoever finds this seed will remain for ever.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (Gospel Acclamation).

"O God, who choose to show mercy not angerto those who hope in you,grant that your faithful may weep, as they should,for the evil they have done,and so merit the grace of your consolation.Through Christ our Lord." (Prayer Over the People).

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Sunday, April 07, 2019

Your word O Lord is the light of the world.

"I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8: 12).

On Monday in the 5th week of Lent 2019, we receive a great light from the Light of the world. What does Jesus mean when He claimed emphatically that He is the light of the world? Jesus means exactly what Sacred Scripture proclaims in Psalm 119: 105.
"Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." Jesus is the word. He is in the word and that word is light. The light of His word shines in many dark areas of the world: Abortion, atheism, materialism, pornography, cruelty to the poor, homeless and immigrants.

When you order your life with the word of God, your thought, word and action will be guided by the Holy Spirit of truth. You will have the light of life and see things as they are. REALITY. Consider this example:
Many people play a game of chance, lottery to win money and become rich. What if they know this truth?

"The child of God can fear no ill,
His chosen, dread no foe;
We leave our fate with thee, and wait Thy bidding when to go.
‘Tis not from chance our comfort springs, Thou art our trust, O King of kings."  (Lauds - Liturgy of the Hours).

The above exposition of 2 Corinthians 1: 3 shines the light on the truth that the comforts we enjoy in life comes directly from the Father of mercies and God of all comforts and not from Chance. Playing lottery, a game of chance or luck denies this truth. The player risks falling into the trap of the enemy, the father of lies.

The Church shines the light of Christ in the world. The Church is protected from error through the infallible ministry of the Holy Spirit.

"Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Now is the favourable time: this is the day of salvation.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!" (2 Corinthians 6: 2).

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Saturday, April 06, 2019

I am doing a new thing in your life.

"Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the wilderness I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers." (Isaiah 43: 18 - 19).

On the 5th Sunday of Lent 2019, the Lord has great encouragement for those who believe they are spent force, have used up all their gifts and are quietly waiting to transition to the next world. The Lord says to you: Forget the past completely: all your accomplishments, the silver and gold medals, the long resumés. The Lord is about to begin a new thing in your life: the Next Step and the More.

Are you prepared for this? It all depends on your "... forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead." (Philippians 3: 13).

What if you think: "I am already too old!" The Lord says to you:
"He gives power to the faint,
abundant strength to the weak.
Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint." (Isaiah 40: 29 - 31).

Depend on faith and not on your intelligence.

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks – come back to me with all your heart, for I am all tenderness and compassion.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" (Joel 2: 12 - 13).

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Friday, April 05, 2019

In my extremity, I cried to the Lord. He heard my cry.

"The waves of death rose about me; the pains of the netherworld surrounded me.In my anguish I called to the Lord,and from his holy temple he heard my voice."
(Cf. Psalm 18: 5, 7).

Our reflection today, Saturday in the 4th week of Lent 2019 is from Psalm 18 which is used in the Entrance Antiphon. Have you ever been overwhelmed by seemingly insurmountable problems? Let us face it, very few of us have gone through the experience of martyrdom. Christ tasted this during His Passion and Crucifixion.

The message of our Scripture today is the infallible power of prayer. Ask, seek and knock. You shall not ask, seek or knock in vain. Jesus Christ knew after His painful cry from the Cross that His Father would not abandon Him to the underworld. Psalm 22 which He quoted from the Cross ended in a triumphant note.
God provides all our necessities through His loving Providence. Quit doubting. Believe!

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
Blessed are those who, with a noble and generous heart,take the word of God to themselvesand yield a harvest through their perseverance.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (Cf Luke 8: 15).

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Thursday, April 04, 2019

Is this your appointed time?

"They tried to arrest him, but his hour had not yet come." (Cf John 7: 30).

On the First Friday of April, in the 4th week of Lent 2019, we reflect on the Hour of Destiny. Jesus refers uncannily to His hour not yet come or His hour has come. What is this hour that Jesus talks about all the time? We know that the biblical concept of time is divided into Chronos from where we get chronology: years, months, weeks, hours, minutes, etc. Is this what Jesus means? Or does He allude to Kairos, which can be interpreted as the hour of grace. The Hour set by the Almighty Father for the execution or realization of certain plans.

God’s Kairos hour governs the major events in the life of Jesus. It also governs the major events in your life. Are you impatient that some prayers or expectations of yours have not been fulfilled? Are you in the appointed time? Nothing happens in God's government of the world before the appointed time.

"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens." (Ecclesiastes 3: 1).

"Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks –come back to me with all your heart, for I am all tenderness and compassion.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!" ( Joel 2: 12 - 13).

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Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday.

April 05, 2019 First Friday in April.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 4th month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #4.

#4.  "They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death."

The key word in this promise to me is DEATH.  Do you find the subject of death troubling?

I consider Promise #4 a great Promise.  St Augustine says:  "If you pray well, you live well. If you live well, you die well. If you die well, all is well."  To die well therefore is what every human being must desire.  Most of the post Ascension apparitions of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary to mystics promise succor at the time of the last struggle of death to those who honor them in the manner they specified.  The Church declared St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin, patron saint of Happy Death.  I believe in the Resurrection of the dead and life everlasting. The thought of dying no longer scares me.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

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Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Moses interceded with God for the People.

"Let me alone, then, that my anger may burn against them to consume them." The Lord said to Moses. (Exodus 32: 10).

On Thursday of the 4th week of Lent 2019, we ask, what is Intercession? Intercession looms so high in the doctrine of salvation that few topics are more important. What is intercession? Intercession is beseeching God earnestly on behalf of someone in dire need of mercy.

In our Scripture today from Exodus 32, let us see what Moses did as intercessor on behalf of Israel when they apostasized by worshiping the golden calf.
"But Moses implored the Lord, his God, saying, “Why, O Lord, should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a strong hand?" (Exodus 32: 11).

Who else is intercessor in the Bible?
Abraham, Jacob, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah. Intercession is a key aspect of the job description of a prophet. It is also a key part of the ministry of the Aaronic priesthood and the Christian priesthood.
One of the principal titles of Jesus Christ is our Able and Eternal High Priest. Jesus Christ in Heaven is continually interceding for us besides the throne of grace and mercy of God. When we intercede for people, we do so through Jesus Christ and in His name. We do not ask God to remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but to remember the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. The Church intercedes for her children day and night through Jesus and in His name. What are the saints doing in Heaven now? Interceding for the Church and for the family and friends of the saints.

Prayer moves God.

"Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life; you have the message of eternal life.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!" (Cf. John 6 :63, 68).

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Tuesday, April 02, 2019

The Lord has not forsaken you.

“The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” Said Zion. (Isaiah 49: 14).

On Wednesday, in the 4th week of Lent 2019, we see the kindness and mercy of God in full display. The People broke the Covenant with God and suffered as a result. The suffering was at a breaking point. They must have muttered thus: "We are convinced now that God has utterly forsaken and forgotten us." How close have you been to despair? You pray for recovery from illness but no sign of healing. For the mending of a broken family but things get worse. For financial improvement but slide into bankruptcy. Or any one of the conditions that befalls man on earth.

If you or your loved ones is in any of the above situation, God has a special good news for you in His word today.

"Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you." (Isaiah 49: 15).

But in case you still have some doubts, "See, upon the palms of my hands I have engraved you." The Lord God assures you. (Isaiah 49: 16).

Now, the ball is in your court:
To believe or not to believe. It is a choice. If you believe, appropriate the Scripture, write it down, memorize it and repeat it until it is yours.

"The LORD is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down." (Psalm 145: 13 - 14).

The Lord is gracious and merciful. His mercies never fail.

"Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son: everyone who believes in him has eternal life.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!" (John 3: 16).

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Monday, April 01, 2019

Do you want to be well?

 “Do you want to be well?" (John 5: 6). You too. Do you want to be well? Jesus is asking you and me on Tuesday, in the 4th week of Lent 2019. Although this question was posed to the man who had been ill for 38 years, the deeper meaning of this Scripture applies to you and me on the health of our soul. There are grievous illnesses that are not of the body but are so consequential that they affect our eternal destiny. The healing of these assures us of immortality. Eternal Bliss! This is what the grace of Lent brings to us. Reconciliation and healing. We are less than 3 weeks to Holy Week. Have you taken advantage of the numerous and generous provisions for Sacramental Reconciliation? Why wait for the last minute since no one is assured of tomorrow. "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8: 36). "Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus! A pure heart create for me, O God, and give me again the joy of your help. Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!" (Psalm 50:12,14). SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Do not consult your fears and doubts but your hopes.

"The royal official said to him [Jesus], “Sir, come down before my child dies.”  Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left." (John 4: 49 - 50).

On Monday, in the 4th week of Lent 2019, we see two great expositions on Faith. In the above Scripture from John 4, Jesus said to the royal official whose son was close to death: Go home, "your son will live." He believes Jesus and went home and found his son recovered at the precise time of his encounter with Jesus.

In the first Reading from Isaiah 65, God promises through Isaiah:
"See, I am creating new heavens
 and a new earth; The former things shall not be remembered nor come to mind." (Isaiah 65: 17).
Do you recognize in this promise the same as the promise of the Kingdom of God, the constant obsession of Jesus during His public ministry? Can you come to believe that for you personally this could be a promise for the NEXT and the MORE in your life?

Faith is radical trust and confidence in the word of God; in His promises.
Without faith, you cannot enjoy the abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10.
How do you come by strong faith?
#1 Prayer: No prayer, no answer, no miracle.
#2 Feeding daily on the word of God. When you pray, you talk to God. When you read the word of God, God talks to you.
#3 When you overcome trials, fears, worries and doubts, you receive a bump in your faith. The beloved Pope St John XXIII leaves us a wise counsel below:

"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but what is still possible for you to do." (Pope St John XXIII).

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
My soul is waiting for the Lord,
I count on his word, because with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus! (Psalm 129: 5, 7).

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